At this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, which opened today in Italy, BMW revealed its new collaboration with Italian design house Pininfarina. Called the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé, the one-off car is supposed to demonstrate an Italian take on BMW's brand values.
"The appeal of this collaboration with Pininfarina is that you get another, very different and special angle on facets like luxury and exclusivity," BMW Design head Karim Habib said in a statement.
The Gran Lusso Coupé has a long, wide, and creased hood that leads to narrow headlights and BMW's trademark kidney grille openings. The outer part of the grille is made from matte-finish aluminum, while the inner parts are made from gloss black to provide a greater 3D effect. The creased front fascia has a full-width lower air opening that widens at each side, as it approaches the 21-inch alloy wheels at each corner.
A prominent "Pininfarina" fender badge helps define the top of a scallop along the lower door edge; a complex cantilever shape suspends each side-view mirror. The roofline dips sharply into the stubby, short trunklid. Beneath the trunk opening is a thin line of LED taillights, which wraps around onto the rear fenders. The comparatively plain rear bumper sits atop a pair of parallelogram-shaped exhaust openings. Other popular BMW design touches include the Hofmeister kink rear quarter-window design, and Air Breather openings behind the front wheels that are supposed to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Like the outside, the concept car's cabin doesn't look particularly far removed from a production BMW. Tobacco Brown leather combines with aged kauri wood, the latter adorning the door panels, center console, and dashboard. (BMW says radiocarbon dating proved the wood is 48,000 years old.) By virtue of the car's long wheelbase, rear-seat passengers have plentiful legroom. The instrument cluster, steering wheel, and center stack controls all look familiar from other modern BMW cars. The headliner is made from wool and the carpeting is "soft deep-pile." A narrow, rectangular skylight in the center of the roof is accented by white LEDs.
Although BMW declines to offer any mechanical details, the fact that this concept car uses a V-12 engine hints it could be based on the 7 Series luxury sedan platform. That brings to mind the old 8 Series coupe, a twelve-cylinder grand tourer launched in the late 1980s. For now, at least, BMW claims that the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé is merely a design study to bring the German car company and Italian studio together.
BMW previously worked with Italian design firm Zagato to reveal two concepts based on the Z4 sports car: a unique coupe that appeared at the 2012 Villa d'Este, followed by a roadster version at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. -Jake Holmes
BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle 2013 marks the 90th year of BMW manufacturing motorcycles, but perhaps more interestingly, it also marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary R 90 S model – a bike whose power, poise, and visual presence shocked the motorcycle industry and transformed it into an icon. How does BMW celebrate both milestones? The answer lies with the Concept 90 motorcycle, which also debuted at Villa d’Este.
Designed and built in partnership with Roland Sands Design, a California-based cycle custom shop, the Concept 90 evokes images of the R 90 S of days gone, albeit in a more racy manner. Although the bikini fairing, slender seat, duck tail, two-tone orange paint job, and sculpted gas tank are all R 90 S hallmarks, there’s no plate mount, turn signals, or superfluous equipment. Even the frame appears to be more akin to a race bike – we wouldn’t be surprised if it comes from the short-lived HP2 Sport.
No word on if there’s any chance the Concept 90 could see limited production, despite the fact similar retro-tinged offerings are fairly common in the cycle world – witness Honda’s CB1100 or, well, virtually anything made by Harley-Davidson. -Evan McCausland